Abstract We present a simple, direct soft lithographic method to fabricate poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) microstructures for protein and cell patterning. This lithographic method involves a molding process in which a uniform PEG film is molded with a patterned polydimethylsiloxane stamp by means of capillary force. The patterned surfaces created by this method provide excellent resistance towards non-specific protein and cell adsorption. The patterned substrates consist of two regions: the molded PEG surface that acts as a resistant layer and the exposed substrate surface that promotes protein or cell adsorption. A notable finding here is that the substrate surface can be directly exposed during the molding process due to the ability to control the wetting properties of the polymer on the stamp, which is a key factor to patterning proteins and cells.