Be sure to tape off the wood handle with masking tape to protect it.
To prepare an old blade for painting, I wash it to remove any dirt and rust. Use a wire brush to clean it as well.
When the blade is completely dry, I apply a coat of gesso and let it dry. Seal it with a sealer and let dry. It is ready to apply a colored background with a neutral color acrylic paint. It can be painted with any type of folk art or scenery you choose. If the wood handle has some major damage, I do repairs with wood filler, glue and then paint it brown or black.
To add your image, you must size it and transfer to the saw blade. You could also sketch with pencil free hand directly onto the blade. In my case, I've used a photocopy of a pen and ink drawing of a bear cub that I sized on a photocopy machine at the local library. It was transferred onto the saw blade with carbon paper.
I work on the background first, making sure to blend the color right over the edges of the black outline area of the main sketch. Some of the shadow areas can be added at this time. I work with sponges and natural brushes to do light washes of color. All the darker elements and details can be added to the background later.
Paint each color, allowing them to dry for a short time. I also use color in layers to add some depth to an animals fur. I generally do most of the darker colors first, trying to add some dimension to it. I finish off with white for the highlights. Black can now be applied to focus on areas of depth that you want to exaggerate. I use many colors to create the texture on the tree bark and add final details on the leaves.
When all the colors of the painting are finished and I’m satisfied, its time to apply two coats of sealer to protect it. Let it dry for an hour in between each application. Don't forget to sign your artwork.