The catalytic oxidation of carbon by molecular oxygen was studied using C/Pt, Pt/C, Pt/Al2O3/C, Pt/CeO2/C, Al2O3/C, and CeO2/C model samples prepared by hole-mask colloidal lithography. By this technique, the degree of contact between platinum and carbon was controlled with high precision. The oxidation of carbon was monitored using atomic force microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. The results show that Pt in direct contact with carbon catalyzes the oxidation of carbon by spillover of dissociated oxygen from Pt to carbon. By physically separating Pt and carbon with a 10 nm thin spacer layer of Al2O3, the oxygen spillover was entirely blocked. However, through a corresponding spacer layer of CeO2, carbon oxidation was still observed, either by oxygen spillover from Pt to carbon or directly dissociated on the ceria, although at a slower rate compared to the case with no spacer layer between Pt and carbon.