Creating connection during arguments

I am working on creating more connection with my husband, and have made some progress by being more compassionate and curious about how he’s different from me (and celebrating that difference) instead of judging him for being different.
Recently we were making crafts for our daughter and I made a comment I felt was pretty innocuous: “That is so small” and he got a little touchy.
Me: “You are free to make comments on whatever I make.”
Him: “Wait till I criticize you on everything you do.”
Me: “Ummm I’m not criticizing you specifically I’m making a comment about the thing.”

I didn’t get annoyed as I normally would have because I was curious as to why he made that big leap from my comment to me criticizing him.
However I am wondering if I should be telling him that I don’t like to be spoken to that way, if I should create some sort of boundary instead of “letting it slide”. This has happened in many other situations where he said words that I perceived as hurtful and I felt compelled to defend myself or lash out.
C: Husband says words.
T: He is being accusatory / hurtful / unfair and I need to refute him or I am allowing him to continue talking to me like that.
A: Defend myself, argue, get into a big fight
R: I accuse him back and also hurt myself & the relationship.

How do I find a better thought that creates connection while still upholding the boundary? I think another implicit thought is that I need to defend myself against anything that I perceive is an unfair comment.
T: He’s probably going through something I don’t understand fully ??? / There may be some truth in what he said…???
(but I still don’t like his tone of voice)