A new solution method based on inexpensive hydrogels and inorganic salts is applied to the synthesis of micropatterned ceramic oxide thin films. Poly(ethylene glycol)-based polymeric precursors, loaded with simple metal precursors, are photopolymerized and micropatterned through soft-lithographic techniques. After thermal degradation, ceramic oxide thin films are produced. The process, examined by means of thermal analysis, grazing incidence diffraction, atomic force microscopy and profilometry, leads to homogeneous nanostructured films, and exhibits great lithographic reliability, remarkably avoiding lateral shrinkage and background residual layer. The method, which permits to overcome some drawbacks related to conventional soft-lithographic and polymer-assisted deposition techniques, was applied to a large number of simple and complex oxides.