Multi-walled carbon nanotubes have been produced by several different methods, including chemical vapor deposition and laser ablation. These nanotubes are either grown as a layer of aligned nanotubes or as intertwined, randomly oriented bundles of nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes have many potential applications due to their mechanical, electrical, and eletronic properties. However, the difficulty in asembling the nanotubes into desired complex architectures and patterns hinder some applications. This invention is directed to a carbon nanotube foam. Capillary forces arising during the evaporation of liquids from dense carbon nanotube arrays are used to reassemble the nanotubes into two-dimensional contiguous cellular foams. The stable nanotube foams can be elastically deformed, transferred to other substrates, or floated out to produce free-standing macroscopic fabrics. The lightweight cellular foams made of condensed nanotubes could have applications as shock-absorbent structural reinforcements and elastic membranes. The ability to control the length scale, orientation, and shape of the cellular structures and the simplicity of the assembly process make this a particularly attractive system for studying pattern formation in ordered media.