In this work ZnO structures doped with Cu were obtained by a low temperature aquatic chemical growth process on both glass and cotton. The successful coating of cotton shows the possible application of this method for smart textile production. The samples were studied using scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction primarily, as well as Raman and UV/Vis spectroscopies. The photocatalytic activity of the cotton samples was also determined by studying the degradation of methyl-orange under UV irradiation. The results showed that all samples were of wurcite crystalline phase and were predominantly c-axis oriented which is typical of higher dimensional ZnO nanostructures. Furthermore, a large blue-shift in the UV absorbance spectra was observed that corresponds to a very small particle size.