The use and development of carbon nanotubes has expanded, as these materials have shown to be valuable innext generation industries including the fields of electronicsand chemistry. The further development of carbon nanotubetechnology allows organized structures or intertwined randomly oriented bundles of carbon nanotubes to be formed. Techniques have been developed to controllably build organized architectures of nanotubes having predetermined orientations, such as vertically aligned nanotubes. Although such structures may be useful for a variety of purposes, the structures by themselves may be limited in terms of function and application. This invention is directed to carbon nanostructure composite systems that may be useful for various applications, including as dry adhesives, electronics and display technologies biosystems, or in a wide variety of other areas where organized nanostructures may be formed and integrated into a flexible substrate. The organized nanotube structures or other nanostructures are embedded within polymers or other flexible materials to provide a flexible skin-like material, with the properties and characteristics of the nanotubes or other nanostructures exploited for use in various applications.