The Ultimate Guide to Using QR Codes in the Art Room

Today I’d love to share a bit more about QR codes. I’ll go over what QR codes are, how they work and 5 ideas for using them in the school setting. If you’d like, you can download a simple guide for future reference located at the end of this post.

QR Codes Watermark

QR Code Basics

Originally used in advertising, QR codes can be found on everything from magazines to cracker boxes. An example can be seen in the image above.

QR stands for “Quick Response.” The idea is that you can use your smartphone, iPod or iPad to scan the QR code, much like a barcode, and instantly have access to extra “stuff” like interesting information about a product, or special offers or coupons.

To be able to read QR codes, you need to download a QR Reader app, such as Quick Scan. To create your own QR codes to use in your classroom, you will need to use a website that generates them. There are many free options. QR Code Generator is simple and straightforward. If you’d like something a bit fancier, is nice. (You can also check out tech guru Kathy Schrock’s website for a huge list of QR code resources.)

Classroom Use

The ways in which you can use QR codes in the classroom are only limited by your imagination.

Here are 5 ideas to get you started.

1. Provide supplemental information for your hallway displays.
When you display student work, consider adding a QR code in the corner of your bulletin board. The code could teach viewers about the style of artwork or the materials the students used.

2. Enhance your next art show with digital artist statements.
After selecting the artwork for your next art show, film or voice record each student talking about his or her work. Upload the video or audio files to your website. Then, have students generate QR codes that link to those files. Print the codes and attach them to the work. To make it more manageable, choose one grade level or find a volunteer to help.

3. Promote your art program. 
There are a lot of different ways to promote your art program using QR codes. For example, instead of typing out the address to you classroom blog in the next school newsletter, include a QR code that links directly to it. Parents will be much more likely to pay you a visit! Alternately, create a code to use on a business card that you handout at back to school nights or art shows. QR Code Generator even has an option for ordering items like this (business cards, stickers, notepads, etc…). To see a list of products, click the printer icon on the site.

4. Create an artist scavenger hunt for students.
Create a series of QR codes that take students to information about various artists around the web (Alternately, create your own text to link to). Print the QR codes and hide them throughout the art room. Then, have students use their own personal devices, or use iPads to find answers to questions like: Which artist founded the cubist movement? Which artist do we know about because of the letters he and his brother Theo sent back and forth?

5. Create QR activities as part of a free choice station.
Create a set of QR codes with different drawing challenges. When finished with their work, students can scan one of the codes at random, then complete the corresponding promt. Alternately, create a set of QR codes that link to different videos about artists on the web. When finished, students can scan one of the codes, watch the video, then write one interesting fact they learned.

A Step-By-Step Guide

If you’d like, download this simple guide for future reference. Happy coding!

Click to Download Free Guide
Click to Download Free Guide

Have you used QR codes in the Art Room before? What did you do? 

Are there any obstacles to using QR codes in the art room? 

Amanda Heyn

Learning Team

Amanda is the Senior Editor at AOE. She has a background in teaching elementary art and enjoys working to bring the best ideas from the world of art ed to the magazine each day. 


  • Jeff Mace

    I use QR codes every day in my art room. Since art projects often take a week or more in my high school classes I like to have bell work so that my students can have something going into the grade book every week. (It also helps them focus at the beginning of the hour!) I use QR codes for daily bell work. Students scan the code and it takes them to a Google Form that I have set up on my Google Drive. I have a simple form for each day of the week. It has a spot for their name, a question relating to art, and a text box to reply in. Each week I change the question but everything else stays the same. When I’m ready to grade, all of the student responses are collected for me on a spreadsheet in Google Forms. It is super easy to maintain and my kids love doing this with their phones/tablets compared to the old days of maintaining a physical journal. I love not having to lug all their journals home to grade on the weekend!

    • Such a great idea, Jeff. Thanks for sharing!

    • I love that idea I may have to do that with my middle schoolers.

  • I use Qr codes in my art room from K-8 grade. All classes use qr codes to upload art work to their Artsonia art gallery. Another everyday use for qr codes is A calendar that has at least one artist a week with a qr code that takes the students to videos or art websites to learn about the artist. Over the school year I have students create art work based from children’s books and grade 4-8 create a podcast of the book reading and 7-8 creates a podcast of a teen book chapter reading. All qr codes are then attached to the books and we make book markers for the library. I love using the qr code generator tideq iPad app. I have students take a picture if their art work and tideq transforms the art piece into a qr code. They then attach the qr code to the artist statement they wrote about the art work. This is great for art shows. Lastly I like to use qr codes added to newsletters that link to my Artsonia gallery, class blog or website, a specific artist or student art that way parents just need to scan to get to these areas instead of typing the address in.
    Here are a few examples of qr codes in my art room

  • Vicky Siegel

    Our school recently was part of “Digital Learning Day.” Each room had a QR code outside their door- classrooms, office, nurse, custodian, etc.! Classrooms rotated the iPad cart for the day so all could view them! I just also had my art room transformed into an art gallery about Vincent Van Gogh. I had the large silk reproductions from Teachers Discovery and more of my own saved work of Van Gogh’s. This year I added QR codes. Mostly I had a question and the QR code linked to the answer. I did have some link to Van Gogh parodies, too. They loved the lego head on one of Van Gogh’s portraits. I checked out 15 iPads for the week, and during the gallery night when parents could come, families brought their own technology, and I also had paper and pencil “scavenger hunts.” Next year I will try using a “voice” link on the QR codes to help the kindergartners and first graders and some of my students with visual impairments.

    • Great idea about rotating technology, Vicky!

  • Jeff Lahr

    Great article, thanks for sharing! I had a few questions about using QRC’s in the class and this answered many of them. I will definately save this as a resource. I haven’t used QR codes yet but one I’ve established whether or not it is an equitable opportunity for all students, I’ll hope to work them into my lesson plans.

    • So glad you found it helpful, Jeff. Using school technology (if it’s available) would be a nice way to make sure all students could access the information!

  • Teresa Woodlief

    I used QR codes by attaching them to my students’ displayed work that would take the viewer to videos on my blog. My students are deaf and hard of hearing so they signed their artisit’s statement using American Sign Language. Please visit:

  • Pingback: 50 Ways to Make Art Class a Valued Part of Your Community | The Art of Ed()

  • Pingback: 50 Ways to Make Art Class a Valued Part of Your Community | The Art of Ed()

  • Pingback: The Easiest Way to Teach Routines | The Art of Ed()

  • Pingback: 3 Easy Setups for Parent Nights | The Art of Ed()

  • Pingback: 3 Ways to Take Your Hallway Displays to the Next Level | The Art of Ed()

  • Pingback: How to Get Your Choice-Based Room Ready for the School Year - The Art of Ed()

  • Pingback: An Easy Way to Make a Powerful and Interactive Anchor Chart - The Art of Ed()

  • Pingback: An Easy Way to Make a Powerful and Interactive Anchor Chart - Alphi Creative()

  • Pingback: An Easy Way to Make a Powerful and Interactive Anchor Chart | no mad culture()