Stretchable electronics typically integrate hard, functional materials on soft substrates. Here we report on engineered elastomeric substrates designed to host stretchable circuitry. Regions of a stiff material, patterned using photolithography, are embedded within a soft elastomer leaving a smooth surface. We present the associated design rules to produce stretchable circuits based on experimental as well as modeling data. We demonstrate our approach with thin-film electronic materials. The "customized" elastomeric substrates may also be used as a generic elastic substrate for stretchable circuits prepared with alternative technologies, such as transfer-printing of inorganic, thinned devices. (C) 2013 American Institute of Physics. []