Hydrophobic zein-based functional films incorporating licorice essential oil were successfully developed as new alternative materials for food packaging. The lotus-leaf negative template was obtained using polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). The complex surface patterns of the lotus leaves were transferred onto the surface of the zein-based films with high fidelity (positive replica), which validates the proposed proof-of-concept. The films were prepared by casting method and fully characterized by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC). The grammage, thickness, contact angle, mechanical, optical and barrier properties of the films were measured, together with the evaluation of their biodegradability, antioxidant and antibacterial activities against common foodborne pathogens ( Enterococcus faecalis and Listeria monocytogenes). The zein-based films with the incorporation of licorice essential oil presented the typical rugosities of the lotus leaf making the surfaces very hydrophobic (water contact angle of 112.50°). In addition to having antioxidant and antibacterial properties, the films also shown to be biodegradable, making them a strong alternative to the traditional plastics used in food packaging.