It is shown that dielectrophoresis - the movement of particles in non-uniform electric fields - can be used to create engineered skin with artificial placodes of different sizes and shapes, in different spatial patterns. Modeling of the electric field distribution and image analysis of the cell aggregates produced showed that the aggregation is highly predictable. The cells in the aggregates remain viable, and reorganization and compaction of the cells in the aggregates occurs when the artificial skin is subsequently cultured. The system developed could be of considerable use for the in vitro study of developmental processes where local variations in cell density and direct cell-cell contacts are important. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.