We report a synthetic approach to form octahedral Cu2O microcrystals with a tunable edge length and demonstrate their use as catalysts for the photodegradation of aromatic organic compounds. In this particular study, the effects of the Cu(2+) and reductant concentrations and stoichiometric ratios were carefully examined to identify their roles in controlling the final material composition and size under sustainable reaction conditions. Varying the ratio and concentrations of Cu(2+) and reductant added during the synthesis determined the final morphology and composition of the structures. Octahedral particles were prepared at selected Cu(2+):glucose ratios that demonstrated a range of photocatalytic reactivity. The results indicate that material composition, surface area, and substrate charge effects play important roles in controlling the overall reaction rate. In addition, analysis of the post-reacted materials revealed photocorrosion was inhibited and that surface etching had preferentially occurred at the particle edges during the reaction, suggesting that the reaction predominately occurred at these interfaces. Such results advance the understanding of how size and composition affect the surface interface and catalytic functionality of materials.