7 Surefire Ways to Send Home Artwork Safely

Your students make amazing pieces of art.

The artwork is displayed beautifully all winter.

Portfolios are assembled, assessments are finished.

Now, the artwork can finally be sent home….and in the process it gets destroyed!

You get angry emails from parents stating that their kids’ beautiful art work was ruined on the bus.

As an art teacher, you know there are so many barriers to getting the artwork home safely: small lockers, stuffed backpacks, wet mittens, bad weather, the list goes on. It can be difficult to come up with practical solutions, but today we have some for you!



Here are 7  safer ways you might consider sending artwork home!

1. Roll up the artwork and have students put a rubber band or a cardboard mailing tube around it. While this is expensive, it’s pretty foolproof.

2. Have the grocery store donate brown paper bags. Have students decorate them, put artwork inside and hand carry them out of the art room.

3. Assemble portfolios with thick, large paper. Staple them shut and have students hand carry them out.

4. Send home artwork on the night of a band concert or parent teacher conferences when most parents will already be at school. This method works especially well for clay pieces.

5. Let parents know when you’re going to send work home using a letter or email. Alerting parents ahead of time may give them the option to pick their children up that day, or meet them at the door to make sure the artwork safely makes it into the car.

6. Have students carry artwork out in simple plastic recycled grocery bags. The hope with this method is that they won’t shove it in a backpack.

7. Try sending home one piece at a time, so the entire collection doesn’t get blown into the street or thrown in the garbage.

We can help this process along in so many ways, but in the end, it’s about personal responsibility. Be sure to tell your students the care of their artwork is up to them. This is a good life lesson for students of any age, and one they won’t forget.

How do you safely send home student artwork?

Any tricks to share?

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.


  • Theresa McGee

    I use store bought art portfolios. The students purchase them as Kindergarteners and they last all the way through 5th grade. The office actually assesses it as part of the kindergarten registration/supply fee so they are then purchased directly through the office making them uniform.
    I send home K-3 artwork 2x a year and 4th/5th only once a year. I also label that they should be returned the 1st day of school and returned again mid year (for K-3rd). They then stay home for the summer. The only clerical work is checking in the portfolios as they come back in the fall. One of the ways I check them in the fall is to have new labels with their new teachers printed and as they come in slap the new label on (in a different font style so it is easy to identify the old from the new).
    Another teacher in my district sends artwork home by grade levels. She has 100 portfolios labeled with #’s. Each kid is assigned a number and then returns the art portfolio the next day after artwork is sent home.

    • Great, Theresa! It’s nice to see someone use a solution that carries the students from grade level to grade level. Having it part of the Kindegarten supply fee is very smart. Do you have issues with them being returned? How do you handle students that move around a lot?

      • Theresa McGee

        I have a few each year that lose them. But just as any supply required, we have them buy a replacement. I also ask my 5th graders to consider donating back their art portfolio for someone else to use. This way, if someone has difficulty paying for a new one, I just give them an old one to use.
        It is also a supply fee for any new student, not just Kindergarten.
        I do have to follow up on kids – but I make it a class competition to see who can get their class all returned first!

        • It sounds like a great system! Over time this just becomes the ‘norm’ with your students. Love it!

  • Beth Carter

    I send Portfolio’s home on the night of Open House, which is next Thursday. The student’ have them on their desk. This also helps the classroom teacher..

  • Kimberly Licavoli

    I save the empty tubes from paper towel, toilet paper, and wrapping paper cutting them into 3″ rings in lieu of rubber bands.

  • Catherine Shelley

    My newspapers are delivered in a plastic tube-like bag. They are perfect for storing drawings and paintings which have been rolled, and then inserted. Tip: roll the art work with the student name facing out. No need to label again! Great for the Pre K – 2 crowd.

  • Matthew Martinez

    It is hard for students at the high school level to take their work home with them at the end of the term. Most of the time it sadly ends up in the trash. A piece of advice a teacher gave me at last year’s national conference when this was brought up was give them extra extra credit for taking it home and having a parent sign that they did so. We make folder based portfolios out of the fire prevention posters from eariler in the year. It is big enough for their artworks to fit in.

  • Paula Oddo

    I have the kids design a portfolio, with their full name, homeroom teacher and the year they did their work (2013-2014) Then I give them a piece of poster board, which has been folded in half. The redraw the designs in pencil, I check everything, and they go over all lines with markers. I then staple the sides and we put the planning paper in and continue to put all 2D work in all year. They take these home on the Friday before Mother’s Day. Never had a complaint, in 12 years!

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