After painting just scrape the paint with a putty knife. It will just kind of do it's own thing. Don't try to force it. I usually scrape along the edges and then just run it across the paint. It's really fun to see it taking shape.
Here's something VERY IMPORTANT to remember. It's kind of a "duh" but sometimes I don't figure out those obvious parts of the refinish until I've wasted a lot of time, so I'm just going to tell you in case you're anything like me. The original paint color or colors will show when you scrape it. Ha ha, I know.
Since I was painting a cream color, I applied dark walnut stain before painting. I wanted the dark stuff to show through, AND the paint probably wouldn't scrape off if applied directly to raw wood.
So here are the steps:
1. Stain raw wood
2. Apply Base Color
3. Scrape with putty knife
4. Glaze if desired
5. Seal the piece with your product of choice :)