Transition metal catalysts (mainly: iron, cobalt and nickel) on various supports are successfully used in a largescale production of carbon nanotubes (CNTs), but after the synthesis it is necessary to perform very aggressive purification treatments that cause damages of CNTs and are not always effective. In this work a preparation of unsupported catalysts and their application to the multi-walled carbon nanotubes synthesis is presented. Iron, cobalt and bimetallic iron-cobalt catalysts were obtained by co-precipitation of iron and cobalt ions followed by solid state reactions. Although metal particles were not supported on the hard-to-reduce oxides, these catalysts showed nanometric dimensions. The catalysts were used for the growth of multi-walled carbon nanotubes by the chemical vapor deposition method. The syntheses were conducted under ethylene - argon atmosphere at 700°C. The obtained catalysts and carbon materials after the synthesis were characterized using transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray diffraction method (XRD), Raman spectroscopy and thermogravimetric analysis (TG). The effect of the kind of catalyst on the properties of the obtained carbon material has been described.