Home and classroom cubby units get a lot of use. They are a very useful piece of furniture. Each member or the class or family has their own separate cubby spaces for their own personal items and belongings. Whether it be papers or books, shoes and hats, mail or music it can be stored in a cubby.
The first thing to do is to remove all items from each and every cubby in the unit. Take it out to your garage or workshop as you do not want the dust from sanding released inside. Wear a face mask while sanding so that you do not breathe in any of the dust.
For the outside of the unit you can use an electric handheld sander but for the inside of each cubby and for the corners you may find it easiest to use a single sheet and sand by hand. The first sanding should be done using a rough grit sandpaper. Once the first sanding is complete go over the entire unit again using a fine grit sandpaper.
Once you have finishing sanding the unit both inside and out dust it off thoroughly with a dry cloth. A shop vac can replace the cloth if you have one. Make sure that the entire unit is dust free so that there will be no chance of the dust getting trapped under your new finish.
Cubby units can either be stain, painted, or left as natural wood. To leave the natural wood use only polyurethane to finish the unit. Pour the poly slowly into a paint tray to avoid creating bubbles. Do not shake or stir as doing so will result in bubbles being created. The bubbles will transfer to the wood and will create bumps and blemishes. Apply polyurethane using a large foam paint brush for the main surfaces and a small foam paint brush for the insides and corners. Allow the poly 25 minutes to dry then apply a second coat. A third coat is optional but a good idea for added protection. Let the final coat of poly dry for 24 hours before bringing the unit back into your classroom or home.
If you wish to give the wood more color you can choose to apply stain. Choose a color of stain that matches your décor and apply it using a soft dry cloth. Rub the stain on in a circular motion and then quickly wipe off any excess to avoid dark spots. Apply a second coat for a deeper and richer color. Once you are satisfied with the color of the stain apply poly as directed above.
Cubby units also look great with a bright bold color. If you wish to paint the unit simply choose your color in a latex based paint. Pour the paint into a paint tray and use a small roller to do the main surfaces. Use a small paint brush to do the insides and corners. Allow the first coat of paint 25 minutes to dry then apply a second. ALlow the second coat of paint another 25 minutes then apply a third for the most even coverage. ALlow the final coat 12 hours to dry then apply poly. Once the poly is fully dry bring the unit back into your classroom or home. It is ready for use.