This is not possible to make you hair permanent curls. In my experience, it works best to put it in multiple buns, pin them, and let dry overnight. Dry it partway before you do the buns, b/c if your hair is soaking wet, it will never dry with the buns in it. Then, part it down the middle. On each side, do two buns one on top of the other, then pin with bobby pins. It will be wavy in the morning. Oh, and yes put the curling cream in it also before you do the buns.
When I braid mine wet, it comes out more kinky than curly.
Another thing I've done is to let it dry in one french twist, and it comes out with big, bouncy waves.