A square planar photonic crystal composed of carbon nanofibers was fabricated using e-beam lithography and chemical vapor deposition. The diffraction properties of the system were characterized experimentally and compared with theory and numerical simulations. The intensities of the (-1,0) and (-1,-1) diffraction beams were measured as functions of the angles of incidence for both s and p-polarization. The obtained radiation patterns can be explained using a simple ray interference model, but finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) calculations are necessary to reproduce the observed dependence of the scattered radiation intensity on incident laser polarization. We explain this in terms of the aspect ratio of the nanofibers and the excitation of surface plasmon polaritons at the substrate interface.