Peptide arrays on cellulose are a powerful tool to investigate peptide interactions with a number of different molecules, for examples antibodies, receptors or enzymes. Such peptide arrays can also be used to study interactions with whole cells. In this review, we focus on the interaction of small antimicrobial peptides with bacteria. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) can kill multidrug-resistant (MDR) human pathogenic bacteria and therefore could be next generation antibiotics targeting MDR bacteria. We describe the screen and the result of different optimization strategies of peptides cleaved from the membrane. In addition, screening of antibacterial activity of peptides that are tethered to the surface is discussed. Surface-active peptides can be used to protect surfaces from bacterial infections, for example implants.