We propose a new, user-friendly and accessible approach for fabricating thin phantoms with controllable absorption properties in magnitude, spectral shape, and spatial distribution. We utilize a standard office laser color printer to print on polyurethane thin films (40 – 60 µm), commonly available as medical film dressings and ultrasound probe covers. We demonstrate that the optical attenuation and absorption of the printed films correlate linearly with the printer input settings (opacity), which facilitates a systematic phantom design. The optical and acoustic properties of these polyurethane films are similar to biological tissue. We argue that these thin phantoms are applicable to a wide range of biomedical applications. Here, we introduce two potential applications: (1) homogeneous epidermal melanin phantoms and (2) spatially resolved absorbers for photoacoustic imaging. We characterize the thin phantoms in terms of optical properties, thickness, microscopic structure, and reproducibility of the printing process.