What a great idea for a dorm or a country rustic home interior style. These are usually thrown away from companies that use cable (cable companies, electricians) and make a great strong piece of furniture. First it does need to be cleaned very well with soap and hot water and a hard bristle scrub brush to remove grime and dust. Dry. Sand away any stamped names or images as those will be hard to cover. Cover with one coat of primer to seal off the wood and allow paint to cover and not soak into the raw wood. Paint your favorite color (or colors). Add dowels that are minimum of 1/2 inch thick (but thicker can give a more bold appearance). Paint out the dowels and spool one last time to ensure good coverage. Coat with polyurethane to seal. On the bottom add rolling casters or other re-purposed “feet”. If you want a little cleaner look you could add a top just a little larger in diameter then the spool top.