ZnO nanostructures were deposited on flexible polymer sheet and cotton fabrics at room temperature by activated reactive evaporation. Room-temperature photoluminescence spectrum of ZnO nanostructured film exhibited a week intrinsic UV emission and a strong broad yellow-orange visible emission. TEM and HRTEM studies show that the grown nanostructures are crystalline in nature and their growth direction was indentified to be along . ZnO nanostructures grown on the copper-coated flexible polymer sheets exhibited stable field-emissio characteristics with a threshold voltage of 2.74 V/mu m (250 mu A) and a very large field enhancement factor (beta) of 23,213. Cotton fabric coated with ZnO nanostructures show an excellent antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (Gram positive), and similar to 73% reduction in the bacterial population is achieved compared to uncoated fabrics after 4 h in viability. Using a shadow mask technique, we also selectively deposited the nanostructures at room temperature on polymer substrates.