DIY Debt Payoff Chalkboard for Debt-Free Living

Getting out of debt takes discipline and dedication. It sucks but the truth is, it takes a lot of work. At this point you’ve set your budget, created goals to propel you forward, and you’re starting to chip away. Now it is time to put those goals in your face so that you will not only be reminded of them constantly but also so that you can see your progress visually. That will help you keep your momentum up and propel you forward during the days when the last thing you want to do is cook dinner. A DIY debt payoff chalkboard keeps your debt payoff front and center so you can keep your nose to the grindstone.

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Collage of White Framed Chalkboard with Colorful Bar Graphs on it and text overlay: DIY Debt Payoff Chalkboard


Keep your debt payoff momentum with a DIY debt payoff chalkboard! #diy #chalkboard #debtfree Click To Tweet

When we started this journey it was sobering to see how much debt we truly had. It was additionally shocking to me to see what those original loan amounts were for my student loans. I have been deferring them for 8 years and while that kept us from having to make payments, it also meant that they continued accruing interested on the initial loan amount. Yikes!

Even though our income has actually gone down (my husband became salaried and lost all of the overtime pay we used to count on), we’ve finally had enough. We paid off our credit cards this month and now only have the student loans remaining. Because this is such a huge chunk of our debt, I needed to be able to see what we are working towards. We need to see the progress we are making or it will feel like we’re stuck under this mountain. With this DIY debt payoff chalkboard I can see the progress grow with each payment.


Wooden Thrift Store Frame with garden scene inside



Back of Wooden Thrift Store Frame

Step 1

First, flip your frame over and begin disassembling it.


Empty Wooden Thrift Store Frame

Step 2

After everything is out of your frame, set the glass and inserts aside for now.


White Painted Empty Frame

Step 3

Next, flip your empty frame back over and add a coat of white acrylic paint to it. Allow your paint to dry completely.


White Painted Empty Frame

Step 4

After your first coat has dried, add a second coat of white acrylic paint to the frame and let dry.

Step 5 (Optional)

If needed, add a third coat of paint to your frame. Mine required this but lighter woods and unfinished woods will not.


Glass Insert from Frame

Step 6

As your paint dries, pull out the glass insert from your frame.


Glass Insert from Frame

Step 7

Thoroughly clean your glass insert. If yours has the price written on the glass and Windex doesn’t remove it, try a little rubbing alcohol.


  • Do not skip this step. You may think it is unnecessary since we are covering it but the contact paper will not stick securely if it isn’t clean.


Rectangular Piece of Chalkboard Contact Paper

Step 8

Next, cut a piece of chalkboard contact paper slightly larger than your glass insert. You want at least an inch of overlap on every side.


Chalkboard Contact Paper Being attached to Glass Insert

Step 9

Begin attaching your contact paper by peeling back a small piece of the backing and firmly pressing it to your glass insert. Smooth out any air bubbles as you go.


Glass Insert Covered in Chalkboard Contact Paper

Step 10

Continue attaching your contact paper, smoothing out the bubbles, until your glass is completely covered.


Glass Insert Covered in Chalkboard Contact Paper

Step 11

Now, carefully turn your covered glass insert over.


Folded Edge of Chalkboard Contact Paper on the Back of the Glass Insert

Folded Edge of Chalkboard Contact Paper on the Back of the Glass Insert

Step 12

Fold up the overages on the sides as pictured above.


Glass Insert Covered in Chalkboard Contact Paper

Step 13

Again, flip your glass insert back over and be sure that all of the air bubbles are removed.


White Painted Empty Frame

Step 14

After you have finished covering the glass insert, set it to the side and seal your dry frame with acrylic sealant. All the sealant to dry completely.


  • Be sure to do this in a well-ventilated area.


Back of Chalkboard Insert inside of frame

Step 15

Next, flip your dry frame over and place your glass insert back in with the chalkboard side facing out.


Cardboard backing inside of frame

Step 16

Then return your cardboard backing to your frame.


Close up of back of frame with prongs pressed down

Step 17

Re-secure the backing of your frame according to its design.


White Frame with Chalkboard

Step 18

Now turn your chalkboard over and pullout your chalk and ruler.


  • You also want to have your debt snowball list in front of you. Don’t know what a debt snowball is? Read all about it inĀ The Total Money Makeover.


Close up of chalkboard with multicolored horizontal lines

Step 19

Use your ruler to create horizontal lines across the bottom of your chalkboard. You need one line for every debt.


Chalkboard with colorful horizontal lines and a bar graph on the right

Step 20

Begin creating your bar graph starting on the far right of your chalkboard. This should represent the largest debt you have. Each line on my graph represents $500.


White Framed Chalkboard with Colorful Bar Graphs on it

Step 21

Continue creating your bar graph from right to left, working your way down to the smallest debt. The rectangles at the top of some of my bars represent an uneven amount that is less that $500. I tried to keep the representational of the extra amount but did it by hand.

Step 22

Next, fill in the name of the corresponding debts at the bottom of each bar graph. Add the total debt amount to the top of each bar graph.


White Framed Chalkboard with Colorful Bar Graphs on it hanging on a wall

Step 23

Lastly, hang your DIY debt payoff chalkboard somewhere prominent in your house. We hung ours by the front door so we will see it daily.


White Framed Chalkboard with Colorful Bar Graphs on it

White Framed Chalkboard with Colorful Bar Graphs on it and text overlay: DIY Debt Payoff Chalkboard

Now that we have this visual representation of our remaining debt the next little goal I’m looking forward to is erasing one of these paid off loans from the board. Even better, when you are finally debt free this chalkboard can be used for reminders or love notes to each other. No use creating something that can’t become a permanent piece of useful decor. How does it feel seeing all of your debt laid out? Is it shocking or better than you expected? Let me know in the comments and soon we’ll dive into lifestyle changes that will keep you from ever being in this place again.

See where I’m linking up!

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Collage of White Framed Chalkboard with Colorful Bar Graphs on it and text overlay: DIY Debt Payoff Chalkboard


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I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.