Tag Archives: kids valentine craft

OFF-LIMITS + office supplies garland craft

Off-Limits by Helen Yoon (2021).

This picture book contains  humor, invention and so much delight. Not only that, but fabulous surprises await both the main character and the lucky reader!

I would sum up the heart of Off-Limits this way: art and expression are all about following your curiosity—as well as sometimes getting messy and breaking the rules.

That’s exactly what the main character does. She follows her curiosity. She breaks the rule that her dad’s office is off-limits.  She creates fun stuff, expressing herself while making not just a mess, but lots of JOY.



(click image(s) to enlarge)


There is a wonderfully sneaky quality to the opening spreads of Off-Limits that builds throughout. The main character takes one curious, playful step into her dad’s off-limits space. And then another. She starts to tinker, to make, to play. First, one piece of tape, then whole a lamp scarf made of tape, then PAPER CLIPS AND BINDER CLIPS!





Each new office supply brings another moment of discovery. Of fun. Of creativity (and not a little bit of festive chaos).  And just when the main character’s doing some more sneaking around, well, let’s just say there’s a BIG, JOYFUL SURPRISE! But I cannot give it away here. That’s for your own moment of discovery.



This new favorites shelf picture book had me engaged, captivated, delighted, and finally amazed and laughing aloud.


OFF-LIMITS. Copyright © 2021 by Helen Yoon. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.



Off-Limits is such a perfect book to craft with, to make a beautiful mess with, to celebrate with! I’m so happy that my friend Mayel, paper artist extraordinaire, is here to show us how with an office supplies garland or two!

Over to Mayel!  


Hello, my name is Mayel. I’m an artist, designer, creator of fun and pretty things at mayelcreates.com. I often create artful activities for kids to encourage making and life filled with art. This is my second craft here on This Picture Book Life (here’s my first one) and it’s my pleasure to collaborate with Danielle again.

Off-Limits is such a delightful book. My children are obviously welcome and encouraged to create whatever they want with all my supplies, and I have a lot of them. Though sometimes they are still attracted to create things out of the stuff you’d least expect, e.g. cardboard boxes, paper clips, staples. All are fun to see!

So here’s a couple of fun garland crafts you and your kid can do together with some office supplies you probably already have in your home.



Let’s get started!

What you’ll need:

Scrap paper (any old paperwork or school paper will do fine)

Stapler with staples




Step 1: First take one of your scrap paper and fold it accordion style about 4-5 folds like in A and B. I used old school work paper so I can repurpose them. You can use any used paper work.

Step 2: Cut the folded paper into 3 equal pieces (C). Then carefully cut out a heart shape with each piece. Make sure to not cut the sides that are connected to each other when cutting the heart out so the hearts will stay attached (D). Now you can unfold the piece and you’ll have your first garland. Repeat this process if you’d like a longer garland. You can staple the ends of your heart garlands together to make them into one long piece.

Let’s start with the heart garland. 

Now, let’s play with the Post-Its.

Step 1: Take a few sheets of Post-Its in a stack, maybe 3-4, so you can design a few sheets at a time. Make sure to turn the sheets so the sticky tab part is at the top of your design. Use your scissors to make designs on the bottom of the Post-Its. I have different types of scissors. I have one that cuts patterns and one that cuts strips at one time. They are fancy, I know, but they are so much fun to have. You can get them at any craft store or online. If you do not have these fancy scissors, no worries, just use regular simple scissors and cut any design or lines you’d like on the Post-Its. For example, I just cut out triangles on picture I.

Step 2: Then, when you feel like you have enough Post-Its sheets to put a garland together, peel off each sheet from one another and line them up. Use the corners of the sticky sides to attach each sheet together like in picture J. Keep adding on sheets to make a longer garland.

Let’s see them all together! I’ve placed my garlands on a blank wall. The Post-It garlands will fortunately stick on by themselves. I made a few different ones here, some alternating colors, some the same color and design. Then, add on the heart scrap paper garlands you’ve made on top with pieces of tape on the ends.

Now you have fun decor out of office supplies!


Hope you’ve enjoyed this crafting activity with ordinary office supplies and had fun with your kids at the same time. See more of my activities and crafts on Insta: MayelCreates.

Till next time!

Thank you, Mayel!!!



You may want to check out Mayel’s first craft on TPBL, Don’t Worry Little Crab paper crab puppets + coloring page!













hearts by thereza rowe + paper airplane valentines

hearts-by-thereza-roweHEARTS by Thereza Rowe (2014).


This is put out by TOON Books, a very cool publisher of comic picture books that kids can read on their own. On their own! Even at three years old. Why? Because they’re told visually and with minimal, simple words.



And YET. This book is not simple at all. It invites readers to come up with their own narrative interpretations. It’s kind of a wild ride! And the art is impeccable thanks to Thereza Rowe‘s bold, beautiful, graphic creations.

hearts 1_905I like how this book is about love, one’s heart, but it’s really about the friendship kind of love. Penelope the fox’s best friend takes off in a rocket (of course!)—but at least she’s got a stack of books with her. Penelope’s heart is broken in two with the loss. And then, oops, she drops her heart in the ocean!


hearts 2_905


hea-slide1From there, it’s an adventure story of Penelope chasing after her heart with dolphins, seagulls, armed guards, a helpful horse, and more along the way.

One sweet part of the backstory is that the story emerged when Thereza Rowe lost one of her cats. “…it was like half of my heart was ripped out. As I was wallowing in my own misery, suddenly came a wee voice: ‘Whatever happens, never lose your heart…”






Keep that newspaper airplane in mind for craft time!






You’ll appreciate hints of Alice in Wonderland, superheroes, fairy tales, mid-century modernism, elements of Mary Blair, along with all things whimsical.



(If you’re an educator, TOON’s got resources for you here. And Paper Darts has a nice interview as well as some of Thereza Rowe’s other work here.)


Images via  Thereza Rowe and TOON Books





3paperairplanesThis book was immediately my pick for a Valentine’s Day craft. And why, you ask? The paper airplane made from newspaper that carries Penelope’s heart! In the sky, over the trees, and into a castle.




valentine-heartsIt’s super simple. Make a paper airplane and put a heart in it to be carried away. (I love the idea of kids launching these around a room at each other!). You can keep it simple or make it as fancy as you want.

paper-airplane-craft-diyWe lined our airplanes with another paper for a pop of color or pattern on the inside. Then we made exhaust tails out of whatever was on hand—pretty tissue paper, blue accordion ribbon. Cut out some hearts in whatever color you like, write a message (preferably aviation or postal related) and voila! Your valentine is ready to send!






And that’s how you send a heart, picture book style.


One last surprise:

I’m giving away a copy of HEARTS over on twitter!  

Come find me there to enter!