Abstract Multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) were fabricated directly on the carbon cloth utilizing bias-assisted microwave plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition system. The deposition of catalysts for carbon nanotubes growth was carried out by e-beam evaporation technologies. Scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy were used for characterizing the morphologies and structures of carbon nanotubes. The depositions of platinum particles on carbon nanotubes were achieved by electroless plating and sputtering. High resolution transmission electron microscopy showed that the diameters of nanotubes and platinum particles are about 20 nm and 2–5 nm, respectively. BET measurement indicated higher surface area of carbon nanotubes than carbon cloth. The electrochemical properties of carbon nanotubes electrode have been investigated by cyclic votammetry. These carbons nanotubes are very suitable for the electrodes and catalyst support of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC).