Cellulose constitutes an important raw material for many industries. However, the superb load-bearing properties of cellulose are accompanied by poor chemical reactivity. The hydroxyl groups on cellulose surfaces can be reacted but usually not without loss of fiber integrity and strength. Here, we describe a novel chemoenzymatic approach for the efficient incorporation of chemical functionality onto cellulose surfaces. The modification is brought about by using a transglycosylating enzyme, xyloglucan endotranglycosylase, to join chemically modified xyloglucan oligosaccharides to xyloglucan, which has a naturally high affinity to cellulose. Binding of the chemically modified hemicellulose molecules can thus be used to attach a wide variety of chemical moieties without disruption of the individual fiber or fiber matrix.