The contrast in photoacoustic (PA) imaging depends on the mechanical and elastic properties of the tissue, as well as on his optical absorption and scatter properties. Thanks to these futures, this novel modality could offer additional specificity compared to conventional ultrasound techniques, being able to reveal the signal of absorbing materials and chomophores, e.g. endogenous molecules like haemoglobin or specific near infrared dyes or plasmonic contrast agents. The development of semi-quantitative protocols for the assessment of the contrast enhancement, is one of the key aspect of the ongoing research, that could open new routes to the use of PA imaging for a variety of applications in preclinical research of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. In this work, we designed and tested a tissue mimicking polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) phantom for photoacoustic applications, with tailored biomechanical/optical and geometrical properties. In order to modulate the light fluence and penetration, that remains one of the major challenge for this technique, we added titanium dioxide and black ink, rendering the optical absorption and scattering coefficients similar to those of biological tissues. The PDMS phantom can become a particularly promising tool in the field of photoacoustics for the evaluation of the performance of a PA system and as a model of the structure of vascularized soft tissues.