Carbon nanofibers were used as building blocks for two-dimensional photonic crystal slabs. Electron beam lithography and chemical vapor deposition were used to fabricate regular arrays and random patterns of nanofibers. The optical properties of the samples were investigated using a diffraction measurement setup, as well as reflection ellipsometry. We find that carbon nanofiber regularity has a strong effect on both diffractive and specular optical properties. This shows that ellipsometry can be a valuable tool to study properties of carbon nanofiber arrays. It also shows that carbon nanofibers provide an interesting candidate as building blocks for nanostructured optical components.