AbstractZnO nanoparticles (NPs) were reduced by treatment with chitosan oligosaccharide (COS) and loaded on organic zirconium phosphate (OZrP) by electrostatic self-assembly in an aqueous medium. The size and morphology of the ZnO NPs was modified using OZrP, which was applied to disperse the ZnO NPs and act as a stabilizer. The synthesized nanocomposites (NC) were used as fillers, and the surface coating method was applied to prepare cellulose-based composite papers having antibacterial properties. The composites were characterized using UV/vis spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), energy dispersion X-ray (EDX) spectrometry, X-ray diffraction (XRD), zeta potential measurements, and scanning electron microscope (SEM). Results indicated that the average diameter of ZnO NPs was less than 50 nm. ZnO NPs was dispersed on the surface and in the interlayer of the OZrP. The physical properties of the finished papers were improved by coating with ZnO/COS/OZrP (ZCO) NCs. Paper that was coated with ZCO yielded good antibacterial properties.